I know not why Ruth Kelly has announced her intention to resign from the Cabinet. Some will probably be prepared to take her assertion that she needs to spend more time with her family at face value. Others will hint that she is part of the plot to undermine the Prime Minister. My view, for what it's worth, is that it probably has something to do with the ongoing row within the government over the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, as some Labour conference sources have apparently already suggested.**
If this is the case, then I applaud Ruth for taking an honourable course in relation to a truly baleful piece of legislation. If more ministers are indeed considering resigning as we keep being told, then they should perhaps consider resigning over this rather than in protest at Gordon's leadership.
The HFE Bill was wrong on three counts - wrong to sanction to use of hybrid-human embryos when there is no proven scentific need to do so, wrong to further undermine the position of fathers in today's society by removing the legal requirement for doctors prescribing IVF treatment to take account of a child's need for one, and wrong not to take the opportunity to adjust the time-limit for abortion to take account of medical advances which in exceptional circumstances can allow babies born at 22, 23 or 24 weeks to survive.
Ruth's decision has focused my thoughts on a long-standing personal dilemma of my own in relation to the same issue, to which I will return shortly.
** Thursday 25 Sept update: Apparently it was none of these things. It was, in a word - as they say by way of explanation for the multifarious "big cat" stories that appear here in Derbyshire from time to time - alcohol.